Running a small family-owned factory during Argentina’s economic crisis provides surprising drama in Alejandro Malowicki’s well-written second feature “Besieged.” While the father and son protags desperately struggle to keep the business from going under, the workers fight for their pay and pensions. It’s not hard to see the little factory as a symbol for the disaster facing an entire society. This offbeat item will probably have greatest impact at home, but could easily slip into festival slots similar to San Sebastian’s Horizons.
With the banks breathing down his neck, Pablo (Gabriel Molinelli) juggles his unpaid bills and unpaid workers in the plant built by his father, while his son (Duilio Orso) prepares to step into the business. A cold-blooded tax auditor plans to hit him with a huge fine, the workers are going on strike, the phone is about to be cut off and, in the middle of the morning, armed bandits rob the safe. Using simple lensing inside one large, claustrophobic set, Malowicki tangles the viewer in seemingly unsolvable problems, pointing a finger at the myth of free trade and free market politics.